Johnston jets in for Witches' season
STEVE Johnston jetted into England today and immediately set about “turning the corner” for the Ipswich Evening Star Witches.The 36-year-old speedway rider is back in the Witches side after an absence of 11 years - and he can't wait to get started.
STEVE Johnston jetted into England today and immediately set about “turning the corner” for the Ipswich Evening Star Witches.
The 36-year-old speedway rider is back in the Witches side after an absence of 11 years - and he can't wait to get started.
The effervescent Johnston is well aware that Ipswich are desperate for a successful year after failing to make an impression in recent campaigns.
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He said: “We need to step up. Hopefully skipper Chris Louis will whack me in the middle of the pits so I can have an influence on the other guys.
“Me and him - the two old stagers - will be the work horses.
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“The hungry younger blokes in the team all have the ability to turn the corner for Ipswich.
“We want to move up the Elite League table - and the action starts here.”
Johnston was met at the airport this morning with a van supplied by the Witches, and he already has two engines tuned by Craig Boyce at his Swindon base.
The man who helped Coventry win the Elite League last season has regained his appetite for the shale sport after trouble at Oxford in the early part of the 2007 campaign.
“I was left out of pocket for whatever reason when Oxford pulled out of the Elite League,” explained Johnston, who proved a big hit with Witches fans in his previous time at Foxhall.
“It felt like a kick in the guts, and I thought seriously about going home to Australia.
“But thankfully Coventry came in and I started winning races and winning meetings and the fun returned.
“Now I can't wait to get started with Ipswich.
“I have been mates with Chris (Louis) for many years now, and it was an easy deal for me to complete.
“Ipswich fans have always been good to me on my visits and I have some friends there and can stay with Chris or Tommy and Gina Nicholls if the Witches have East Anglian meetings close together.”
Johnston, who will continue to ride in Sweden for Masarna but not in the Polish League, is due a testimonial this year and originally planned to return to England earlier.
He added: “Coventry kindly said that I could have the meeting at Brandon, and I was looking at early in the season.
“This did not happen, so I decided to stay in the warm a bit longer.
“If it doesn't work out at Coventry then Chris has indicated that it could be held at Foxhall Stadium. We shall have to wait and see.”
The rest of the Witches team is made up of three Poles, Jarek Hampel, Robert Miskowiak and Piotr Swiderski, young German Tobi Kroner and Maldon-based English rider Chris Schramm.